If you’re a fan of squirrels, you’ll love Bobby, the two-year-old gray chinchilla. Weighing in at just over one pound, this lovable rodent is looking for a new home in Alexandria via the Animal Welfare League.

“Because of their thick fur, chinchillas don’t bathe, at least in water,” AWLA spokesperson Gina Hardter told ALXnow. “Instead, chinchillas should take dust baths several times a week to keep their coats clean.”

Since they’re rodents, chinchillas are herbivores and their teeth grow continuously. They are also nocturnal.

“Pet chinchillas who receive proper care can live 10 years or more,” Hardter said. “If you have questions about how to care for chinchillas, the team at the AWLA is happy to answer your questions.”

Learn more Bobby here.

Courtesy AWLA

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Dynamic duo Chloe and Aggie are best friends, and the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria is giving the pair up for adoption.

Aggie, a 10-year-old hound mix, has been with four-year-old pub mix Chloe her entire life.

“Both and are best friends who traveled all the way from Florida to find their new family,” AWLA spokesperson Gina Hardter told ALXnow. “Chloe and Aggie spent some time at the AWLA’s summer camp this week and had a blast hanging out with the campers.  They think it would be equally fun to have children in their future home as well.”

Learn more about meeting Aggie and Chloe by visiting AlexandriaAnimals.org/Adopt-By-Appointment.

Courtesy AWLA

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Aria isn’t afraid to exhibit her underbite.

The 10-year-old Chihuahua is up for adoption via the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, and aside from sticking out her tongue constantly is a relatively low-key pup.

“With Aria, every day is #TongueOutTuesday,” AWLA spokesperson Gina Hardter told ALXnow. “Not only does she ‘blep‘ frequently, but she has an adorable little underbite that she’s not afraid to show off to her friends.”

Learn more about how to meet Aria at AlexandriaAnimals.org/Adopt-By-Appointment.

Courtesy AWLA

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Morning Notes

Animal Welfare League of Alexandria turns 75 — “Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson and several City Council members were among the attendees milling about, chatting with friends, reviewing the dozens of items up for auction, and touring the facility as well as the AWLA’s new surgical and event vehicle, Waggin’ Wheels.” [Zebra]

Former Steak & Ale building demolished — “Long-time residents of Alexandria may remember the old Steak and Ale restaurant at the intersection of Kenmore Avenue and Seminary Road. The 6,800 square foot Tudor-style building has been abandoned for more than a decade, since the restaurant chain declared bankruptcy.” [Alexandria Living]

Summer Sidewalk Sale dates announced — “Visit Alexandria has announced the return of Alexandria’s 12th Annual Sidewalk Sale Aug. 14-15, 2021. During this weekend-long event, shoppers can find deeply discounted summer merchandise at dozens of boutiques around Old Town and Del Ray.” [Alexandria Living]

Today’s weather — “Plentiful sunshine (during the day). Hot. High 97F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph… Partly cloudy (in the evening). A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. Low 74F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Craft beer bartender — “Now hiring experienced bartenders and Servers at Hops N Shine! We are looking for bartenders with a strong passion for the craft beer industry and a commitment to providing an outstanding guest experiences at our location.” [Indeed]

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What was an intense week in Alexandria. Here is the rundown.

History was made, as the new marquees at Alexandria City High School and Naomi L. Brooks Elementary Schools were unveiled this week, and the name changes to T.C. Williams High School and Matthew Maury Elementary School will go into effect July 1. It’s a victory for civil rights, as the namesakes of both old schools had backgrounds steeped in racism. Maury was a Confederate leader and Williams was an ACPS superintendent who worked intently against racial integration.

City Manager Mark Jinks on Tuesday also announced his intention to retire at the end of the year. Jinks, who made the announcement to City Council, hinted to ALXnow last month that he was seeking retirement. Today (Friday, June 25) is also the last day for retiring Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown, who will be moving to the West Coast to deal with family matters. Assistant Chief Don Hayes is taking over as acting chief until a national search narrows down a preferred candidate for the job.

Law enforcement events also dominated this week’s coverage. On Tuesday, first responders saved a woman experiencing a mental health crisis who was dangling perilously off the Monroe Avenue Bridge, followed by news Wednesday that a suspect was arrested for a West End murder along with 16 others in a massive racketeering conspiracy. On Thursday, a barricade situation in the West End ended peacefully.

In this week’s poll, when asked whether transit improvements would make residents more likely to take the bus, 48% said they don’t take the bus often and won’t likely change their habits; 38% said they don’t often take the bus, although transit improvements might change that; and 14% said that they already frequent the Metro and DASH bus systems.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Alexandria woman dies after veering off road on Interstate 95
  2. Man suspected of raping 12-year-old stepdaughter in Landmark area flees to El Salvador
  3. JUST IN: Thieves break into more than 60 vehicles in West End
  4. JUST IN: Rarity as American Viper Rattlesnake found in Old Town
  5. Massive redevelopment of West End apartment building has neighbors worried about street parking impact
  6. UPDATE: Alexandria first responders save suicidal woman on Monroe Avenue Bridge
  7. City Council emphasizes marketing funding for Alexandria’s ‘Hot Girl Summer’
  8. Mother and boyfriend allegedly beaten by knife-wielding ex in Old Town North
  9. With eviction moratorium expiring, city pushes renters and landlords toward rental assistance
  10. Shortened Alexandria Birthday celebration is still on for July 10
  11. BREAKING: California man arrested for West End murder, indicted with 16 others in massive racketeering conspiracy

Have a safe weekend!

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Pepper the tricolor guinea pig is very sweet, and the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria is trying to find him a new home.

“Pepper is a clever guy who loves toys and entertainment, including wood and cardboard toys to chew, equipment for exercise, and, of course, a hiding hole for sleeping and spying,” said AWLA spokesperson Gina Hardter.

Guinea pigs are social animals who can be taught tricks, especially if you’re generous with the treats, Hardter said.

Learn more about guinea pigs and how to make a comfortable home for them by contacting the team at the AWLA. Visit AlexandriaAnimals.org/Adopt-By-Appointment to schedule time to meet Pepper virtually or in-person.

Courtesy AWLA

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It was a surprising week in Alexandria.

Our top story by far was on the venomous rattlesnake found in Old Town on Sunday. The timber snake, which also goes by the name American Viper, was discovered in the 400 block of Gibbon Street — a few blocks from the waterfront. It didn’t bite anyone, and was apprehended by the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria’s Animal Services team and later moved to a wildlife facility in Northern Virginia.

This Saturday, June 19,  is also Juneteenth, and the new federal holiday recognizes the end of slavery in the U.S. The City recognized Juneteenth on Friday, and most government offices and facilities were closed. This weekend, the Alexandria Black History Museum is partnering with Washington Revels Jubilee Voices — a group that preserves local Black traditions through a cappella music, dramatic performances and dance — for a virtual Juneteenth Celebration.

Meanwhile, in-person dramatic and musical performances are being planned for July. The Little Theatre of Alexandria is expanding capacity with their new lineup of shows, and the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra will resume in-person performing in a reduced program at the City’s birthday celebration on the waterfront on July 10.

In other good news, a pair of T.C. Williams High School Titans raised more than $4,800 to attend the Outdoor Nationals at the University of Oregon on July 1.

In this week’s poll, we asked readers how they think the millions of first allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funds should be spent, as City Council will conduct a public hearing on how to spend it on Saturday. After a rash of flooding incidents last year, a majority of the respondents want the funds prioritized for waterway maintenance.

This Sunday is also Father’s Day, and a number of Alexandria businesses are offering unique specials.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. JUST IN: Rarity as American Viper Rattlesnake found in Old Town
  2. Captain Sean Casey wins Democratic primary and is running unopposed for Sheriff in November
  3. Woman assaulted by mob and pepper-sprayed in Old Town North
  4. Man dies of apparent overdose at coworking office in Old Town
  5. T.C. Williams High School’s final graduating class walks the stage
  6. Alexandria Fire Department rescues woman from stalled car, Flash Flood Watch in effect
  7. City launches Duke Street transit overhaul process
  8. For Taco Bamba owner, newly announced Landmark location is a homecoming
  9. Shortened Alexandria Birthday celebration is still on for July 10
  10. Here’s what to do when you find dead birds amid recent epidemic
  11. Java Grill closed until further notice in Old Town

Have a safe weekend! 

Courtesy AWLA/Twitter 

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Alexandria’s history with slavery makes Juneteenth a particularly important holiday.

June 19 recognizes the emancipation of slaves in the United States, and the date is expected to soon be a federal holiday, even though Alexandria has recognized it since 2019.

But because June 19 falls on a Saturday this year, the City is also recognizing Friday, June 18, as a holiday.

“We should all be looking at ways that we can help our community, especially in the context of a pandemic which has particularly ravaged communities of color,” said Audrey David, executive director of the Alexandria City Black History Museum, in a recent blog post, “Start by exploring the Black History Museum’s Preserving Their Names online only exhibition, released to coincide with the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, which features images of objects and digital photographs from the new Black Lives Remembered Collection.”

The Alexandria Black History Museum is also presenting a virtual performance on Saturday with the Washington Revels Jubilee Voices.

The holiday means most, but not all, City employees will have Friday off. Parking restrictions will also be lifted at legal parking spaces throughout the city, however Alexandria City Public Schools will be open.

What’s open

City-run facilities and services that will be open include:

Closures

The following City services are closed Friday:

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At 56 pounds, Cornbread acts like a big puppy.

The 22-month-old brown and white, male bloodhound/boxer mix is looking for a new home via the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria.

“Cornbread is a fully-grown adult, but his boisterous demeanor and goofy antics make him seem just like an extra-large pup,” AWLA spokesperson Gina Hardter told ALXnow. “Just like his bloodhound lineage, Cornbread loves to get on the trail of a good scent, and on walks, you will often find him with his nose to the ground. But when it’s time to play he is up and at ’em, focusing on his favorite people, toys and some silly fun, like a roll down the hill.”

Cornbread is available for adoption by appointment. Learn more about how to meet him at AlexandriaAnimals.org/Adopt-By-Appointment.

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As you’ve probably heard, something is going around and killing regional birds, and local residents are encouraged to report bird deaths to a state database.

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources has launched a form to collect data statewide on which birds are being affected, how, and where. The form asks basic location information but also asks residents to identify specific issues, namely whether there’s visible crusting or swelling around the eyes, or if there are neurological problems like head tilting or uncoordinated movement.

Officially, the cause of the widespread bird deaths is unknown, but the elephant in the room is people’s response to the cicada reemergence. It’s been theorized that insecticide left out to kill cicadas has been getting into the bird population, but there’s nothing concrete to confirm that yet.

The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria said the calls have been ongoing since mid-May for sick and injured birds, most commonly grackles and blue jays.

“Eye issues were reported in what otherwise looked like healthy juvenile birds, causing blindness that leads the birds to land and stay on the ground,” the AWLA said. “The AWLA’s Animal Services team are now seeing additional species of birds affected. Other agencies and localities across the region and state are reporting similar issues at this time.”

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